COVID-19 diary from a pediatric nurse

Brittany is a pediatric nurse in Fargo. She wants everyone who can to get the vaccine.

A nurse in scrubs looks seriously at the camera while standing in a Sanford Health exam room.

Sanford Health News asked nurses to share their experiences with COVID-19 patients and their reasoning for getting vaccinated. These are Brittany’s words.

I’m a nurse at the Sanford Children’s Clinic in Fargo, North Dakota. I was born and raised in Moorhead and have lived in the Fargo-Moorhead area my whole life.

This January marked 10 years that I’ve been a nurse at Sanford Health. I’ve worked in pediatrics for my entire nursing career, first as a licensed practical nurse. After graduating with my registered nursing degree, I’ve continued to work in the ambulatory clinic.

I was vaccinated in January of 2021 because I wanted to protect my family and those that I care for at work. My husband is also vaccinated and my 6-year-old just got the vaccine a few weeks ago. My other two children are not old enough to get vaccinated yet.

My youngest was born during the pandemic. After I had likely brought COVID-19 home and gave it to my infant and son, I knew that getting vaccinated was the right thing to do.

The more we can do to prevent COVID-19, the safer everyone will be. I struggled with the guilt I had from potentially bringing COVID-19 home and giving it to my family. It took me a long time to get over that. And I don’t want my family to ever feel that way.

Before I got vaccinated, I talked to a lot of my co-workers about why it was important and why it was the right decision for me. It was one thing that I could do to protect my family and the people I work with.

In the pediatric clinic where I work, I see a lot of kids dealing with COVID-19. Many of these kids are not able to be vaccinated because they’re not old enough yet. They come in struggling to breathe, they’re coughing, they have headaches and they’re fatigued. Most of them leave with some home care measures, but in some instances, we have to send them to the hospital for further care.

One of the hardest things I’ve seen as a nurse is the effect this has on their parents. They bring their child in thinking they have a cough or cold, and their child is diagnosed with COVID-19.

It’s hard to see kids struggling to breathe and having to put them on oxygen before sending them to the hospital via ambulance. Once they get to the pediatric intensive care unit, they’ll often be there for a few weeks recovering from this disease. I have to explain to their parents that we don’t know how long they’ll be there or what the outcome will be.

For many people, if they’ve never had COVID-19 or known someone who has, they don’t think it will happen to them. They don’t know what to expect. It’s important to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to help prevent the spread in our community and keep those around us safe.

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Posted In Children's, Coronavirus, Fargo, Immunizations, Nursing and Nursing Support